Posts

Showing posts from 2014

The Oasis

Image
“Hi, my name is Xiomara,” I said to introduce myself. 

I sat in a small room, nervous about my first meeting. I was going through a particularly painful and difficult season in my life. So with the encouragement of my husband and a counselor, I attended a support group meeting. This first meeting became one of many. Amongst those seated in that room week after week, I found hope, encouragement, and community. I learned that I didn't have to bear the burden of my difficulties alone and in isolation. I learned that my painful experiences weren't unique to just me but were also shared with others. In the middle of a desert land in my life, I had found an oasis.

An oasis is a small fertile or green area in a desert region, usually having a spring or well. It’s known for serving as a refuge, relief, and time of refreshment from the dry and sometimes harsh desert climate.

A lot of things have changed in my life since I sat in that room some years ago. Yet somehow it seems that these p…

Friends

Image
I have a superpower. I can make friends really easily. Not only that, I like making new friends. I really, really, enjoy it. Meeting new people, learning about them, and making new friends is like trying fun new drinks or desserts while I’m on vacation. For me, it’s like having a mini adventure.

When I was 17, there was this guy I attended church with. He and my brother were the same age, and for some reason they rubbed each other the wrong way. There was no real drama behind it. I think their personalities just clashed. He used to sort of ignore me because he didn't get along with my brother. I think he assumed I’d dislike him or something. This gave me a desire to try my own personal social experiment. If I approached him as if there was no issues and I purposefully befriended him, would that win him over? Would being willing to be open and friendly be enough to break down this invisible wall? I wasn't sure – but I wanted to find out. So I did just that. I greeted him every …

Navigating a System Overlaod

Image
I’ll never forget the theme song for the cartoon The Jetsons. I watched this cartoon series faithfully as I grew up. “Meet George Jetson, His Boy Elroy, Daughter Judy, Jane… his wife,” the lyrics introduced the main characters. Not mentioned in the song was their faithful dog Astro, and Rosie the Robot, the family maid.
The 80s version cartoon I watched is just about 30 years old so specific episode details are a bit vague. But I remember that Rosie, atleast one on occasion, got overloaded. I don’t remember the exact details of the episode, but I do recall Rosie starts acting out of character and ended up with smoke coming out of her ears and is out of order.
I actually hadn’t thought about Rosie the Robot for years. Not until yesterday. My Monday started like any typical day. I woke up. Changed diapers. Dispensed milk into sippy cups while turning on the TV for the morning cartoon sessions. I made myself some breakfast and coffee. Long after the children had their breakfast, I finall…

Celebration Time!

Image
If I ever had a baby born with Down syndrome, it wouldn't matter to me. I would still love it just the same.

I said and thought this various times throughout the years. Especially when my husband and I wanted to start a family. I had taken the prescreening time sensitive test with my first son. The results were clear and I got billed $530. The second time around, I declined testing. There was no way I was going to pay $530 again for testing. It didn't matter anyway. I knew I wouldn't terminate regardless of results.    
Then my second son was born. Merely 4 hours after his birth, our pediatrician broke the news to us gently and privately. Our son had been born with Down syndrome. I was shocked. I knew it the moment I saw his precious face. In fact, it was the first fleeting thought I had when I first saw him. But the reality of that diagnosis shocked me to my core. 


I remembered those same words over the next coming days: If I ever had a baby born with Down syndrome, it woul…

Simple Substitutes

Image
Eating healthy: let's face it- its tough on a lot of levels. Most often than not, we know how to do it and what plan works best for us- but it's a lot of time and money. The better stuff is more expensive and eating healthy requires more preparation at times.

This becomes an even trickier subject when you try to get your kids to eat healthier. They know hwta they like- and its often not healthy.
I am not the first person to blog about this nor will I be the last. But I wanted to add my voice to share some quick, inexpensive, and healthier swaps that has worked for us. After all, it may help you find options and feel better about what they eat with a limited effort and impact to your pocket book.
Also, I have a picky eater. A very picky eater. His preferred foods to eat will usually hover in the chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and juice box range. I can get him to eat rice and beans (yay!) and snack on fruits. But I offer veggies that usually go uneate…

Winds of Change

Image
Sometimes I have difficulty shaping my words into blog form. Not because I don’t have enough words. Usually because I have too many words to say about too many subjects and I’m tempted to share them all at one time. Such is the life (and burden) of a communicator.
So I sit here on this beautiful October afternoon attempting for the 4th time to blog about the latest aspects of my life I wanted to share. My second mug of coffee is being consumed with contentment and my kids are quietly sleeping and playing in their rooms.

Over this past week I have been trying to find a way to share with my readers – that right now, this October day, I am content. I am peaceful. I am happy. Which feels odd to say namely because of the content of my latest posts. I have shared that I am experiencing hardship in my life circumstances. I have shared that I faced and acknowledged that I had given up on working towards healthier my eating & exercising habits. My posts are weaved with threads of feeling at…

The Setback

Image
“Youneed to start eating healthier," he said. I had mentioned to my fellow sales associate that I had a Coke stashed in the fridge along with and a pack of M&Ms in the back to help me get through my current work shift. I was in between the lunch and dinner hour and hadn't really had time to eat lunch. It was meant to “pick me up” when my stomach began to growl with hunger and my energy depleted.

I don’t remember what my exact response was. I think it was a string of words attempting to justify and defend my “food choices.”  Inside however, I balked. I reasoned and explained to myself how he just didn't understand. Then I started thinking ways to explain or prove to him that he was wrong. Except he wasn't. And I knew it. And it bothered me.
This simple comment from my coworker began to haunt me for the next week. It was a catalyst to asking myself some very honest questions.
You see this time last year I was struggling with depression, anxiety, and feeling terribly …

Love & Marriage

Image
Next Monday, a week from today, my husband and I will be celebrating our 7th Wedding Anniversary. As I began to think about my next blog topic, I realized I have never blogged about my husband or my marriage. It’s such an integral part of my life, and yet I've never really thought to write about it. Not until now.
While I chewed on the subject all weekend, I tried to decide what to write about. I had many ideas, all of which I quickly scrapped. It didn't take long at all for this to seem like a rather daunting task, especially when the subject alone could be the focus of an entire blog website.
My husband and I have a good marriage. A great marriage really. And interestingly enough this great marriage was forged on the fires of adversity.
We were in the middle of our second year of marriage where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The majority of the difficulties began when circumstances outside of our control caused hardship and trouble. Someone robbed our storag…

Truthful Tuesday: My Musical Expose

Image
I remember when Brittany Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” became the hit song on most popular radio stations. It was everywhere. On the radio, on music video stations, on the lips of countless Britney Spears fans. 
It was during the beginning of my early college days (I think).  I remember hearing a little girl about 4 years old singing it. I’m not exactly sure of her age, but she was a preschooler. I don’t really remember any details about when I heard her sing it or where. I just remember my reaction. Moral indignation. Self-righteous ignorance. I was so offended that an adult would allow a small child to let sexual references be sung from her lips. I didn’t care that the little girl had no idea what she was singing. I didn’t care that other adults thought it was just cute and funny. I thought it was horrible. And I judged. Oh did I judge.
Over the past 3 years of being a parent, I have learned that all my “I’m never going to do that when I’m a parent” statements have deteriorated…

Good Grief

Image
Simone Weil said, “There are only two things that pierce the human heart: beauty and affliction.” And while I find little if no joy in affliction, I have learned to value its merit.
I was driving in to work Saturday with thoughts about grief in my mind. I have been no stranger to grief in my life. It’s not an emotion I enjoy spending time and space with. Sometimes the impact of grief is obvious, particularly after the death of a loved one. Other times it’s more insidious but still acutely painful, like parting with the closely treasured dream or expectation (which has been my experience of late). As I was thinking about grief and trying to put my experience with it into words, a couple of things came to mind. The first is that grief is like a great purging. While part of the grief experience embraces and acknowledges hurt and pain, the other part of grief seeks to let all that pain and hurt go. Grief is supposed to allow us to move past hurt and pain without becoming ensnarled in bitte…

Answered Prayers

Image
Several years ago, in my early twenties, I prayed a prayer that would have changed my life. Like the verses of some of the Christian worship songs I sang at the time, I prayed that God would “break my heart for what broke His heart.” I sincerely and genuinely asked God to give me a compassion for people, a compassion I didn’t have. I asked Him to break my stony heart of self-righteous judgment and learn to give love and mercy others. I asked Him to show me how to grieve the things He grieved over and fight for the things He fought for.
What a dangerous thing to pray! Not only because God would answer that prayer, but because gaining these things required more of me than I would have had imagined.

God did grant these things to me. But it wasn't through some transcendental change of heart that happened overnight. It wasn't through Godly service and dispensation of compassion acts, like Mother Teresa embodied. No, it was through my own pain and suffering, through my own brokenness…

Assigned Residence

Image
Some seasons are filled with newness, anticipation and excitement.
Others are experienced in the rough patches. Neither exciting nor happy, these seasons prove to prune and shape our hearts and lives into something stronger and greater.
I seem to have taken up residence in such a season. My address can be found in the phonebook listed between A Rock and A Hard Place. No way past it. You must pass one to find me and I’m stuck in the middle. My only fear in this season is that somehow this would become my permanent address.
Unlike my bouts with depression, this season isn’t determined by hormones, angst, or inner grief. Neither did I land here because I didn’t try hard enough or because I gave up. I’m here because life happens. Circumstances outside of my control happen. And “everyone goes through times like these.”
Jeff Manion calls it The Land Between. It’s a transitional place, rich with opportunities to become angry and bitter. Or fertile land to learn to trust God in a deeper way and b…

Sweet Appreciation

Image
I recently accepted a position to work weekends in a retail company. While I was originally seeking full time work, this seemed to be the best solution for our family.
Initially, the thought of returning to work full time and sending the kids to day care seemed to be the relief and respite I was hoping for. An escape from long and weary monotonous days filled with tantrums and timeouts. As the job hunt progressed from days to weeks and we started considering all different kinds of options, we settled on this one. To my great surprise, I felt relief.
These feelings of relief puzzled me. For weeks and months I bemoaned the exhaustion I felt day after day. Keeping up with two active little boys is nothing to scoff it.I am a teacher, an entertainer, a nurse, a referee, a chauffeur, a maid, a cook, and more all rolled into one. Every day. I shift in and out of the roles and wonder endlessly if I am doing it right. I lay awake at night or spend time online looking for ideas to do it better. T…

Anywhere But Here

Image
It’s one of those days. One of those days where I want to be anywhere but here.
I sit at my cluttered dining room table, with cartoons blaring in the background. I gaze around and take in the view. Toys on the living room floor peppered with goldfish crumbs everywhere. A sink full of dishes and countertops to match the disarray. Kids still in pajamas at 2pm and I am no worse for wear. I haven’t even brushed my hair today. To top it all off I have no desire to do anything to clean us all up. Nilch. None. Zero. Instead I’ve spent the hours trying to keep fevers downs and the kids distracted. Despite their runny noses and overly warm foreheads they still have enough energy to power a small plant.
So I do what I do daily. Look up online ideas for activities. Wrestle the toddler out of the bathroom as he loudly protest being parted from the toilet bowl. Put his brother in time out for inappropriately protecting/hoarding his toys. Dig under the couches for lost toy cars. Check the clock ever…